The average Cochrane home assessed at $615,000 will be paying $140 more in property taxes for 2024.

Last night, town council approved a 3.63 per cent increase for residential properties. Nonresidential taxes will increase about 3.9 per cent.

The average residential property will be paying $3,999 in taxes, up from $3,859 last year. It includes municipal and school taxes as well as a small requisition from the Rocky View Foundation for affordable housing for seniors.

Tax bills are scheduled to be mailed out no later than May 30 and are due on June 30. A seven per cent penalty is applied for taxes left unpaid on July 1 and further penalties are added later in the year.

Although councillors Marni Fedyeko, Morgan Nagel, and Tara McFadden opposed the budget, they did not prevent it from passing last night. The most they could have done is briefly stall its implementation, unless another councillor changed their position at the last minute.

"I'm going to be voting in favour of unanimous consent to go forward tonight because I don't have any desire, nor do I philosophically agree, with creating some sort of political gridlock in procedure to slow things down," said Councillor Nagel.

Property tax breakdownGraphic breaks down where the taxes go. (image/Town of Cochrane)

Alvin Allim, Cochrane director of financial and information technology services, told council most of the increase can be attributed to the education property tax charged by the province for the Alberta Education Foundation Fund (AEFF).

The town is required to collect $19.592,018 for AEFF, up 15.81 per cent from last year.

The percentage increase is high, but the extra funds being requisitioned by the Rocky View Foundation has a minor impact. It is requisitioning $645,773 from Cochrane properties, a 98.86 per cent increase from 2023's collection of $321,195.

The foundation recently opened Abrio Place, its first seniors housing project in Airdrie. Locally, it operates the Big Hill Lodge and Evergreen Manor and is working towards replacing the aging Big Hill Lodge and establishing housing in Bragg Creek.

The town's budget calls for expenditures of $82,836,453. Of that, $37,659,740 is being generated from general municipal taxation and $45,176,713 is from municipal revenues and transfers from other sources.

Assessed property values applied to calculating property taxes totalled $8.3 billion, of which $7.7 billion, or 91.3 per cent is residential and $729 million, or a mere 8.7 per cent, is nonresidential.

Eighty-five per cent of the tax load is being carried by residential properties and 15 per cent by nonresidential properties. It's been the same since 2018. 

Twenty-three properties that were annexed by the town from Rocky View County will continue to enjoy the same rate as charged by Rocky View County. An average acreage property of $1 million will pay $2,177 in municipal taxes under the annexation agreement. If the Town of Cochrane rate was applied it would be $4,199, a difference of $2,022.

A separate bylaw is passed annually for Community Revitalization Levy properties. The taxes in this zone, better known as The Quarry commercial area, is being used to complete $13 million in capital projects. The levy allows the town to use funds which would normally go to the province for education to make capital improvements within the zone. The education taxes portion will cover $5 million, or 38 per cent, of the infrastructure improvements.

In an agreement with the province, $3 million of the CRL funds can be used for public space Improvements such as urban design and roadways, $3 million for the CPR Pedestrian Crossing, $4 million towards an arts centre, and $3 million for a shared parking facility.

The town recently extended its CRL agreement with the province.

READ: Huge victory for Cochrane in securing CRL extension